Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication Date: July 16th, 2013
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Contemporary
From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.
Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.
Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…
Bailey used to be a duo with her sister, Julie – She was the songwriter and the fiddle player while Julie sang and played guitar. One day, a record company exec discovered Julie and signed her to a contract, snatching her away from Bailey and making sure that Bailey stays under the radar because it would be bad for their public relations. For a year Bailey has been acting rebellious until one car accident – thanks to her drunken boyfriend – gets her sent to her granddad’s house in Nashville. There, she plays gigs in a mall and meets a boy named Sam.
Bailey is a complicated character in my opinion, but somehow I could relate to her, being the underdog and all. Her parents gave up on her dream, told her to pursue another career (and literally control her life) so her younger sister Julie could shine brighter. Bailey seems…bitter in the beginning, but once I got to know her reasons, I couldn’t help but to sympathize with her. She isn’t always likable, but I was so glad that in the end she finally stands up for her dream. Now, I have things that I didn’t like about her but I will point it out later in the romance section.
The love interest in this book is Sam. He seems like a sweet and friendly guy when he is first introduced, however as the story progresses, we get to see his darker sides. Turns out he’s quite a player but he actually has a broken heart (though he never shows it). I was honestly mad when I knew his true intentions — he wants to use Bailey!! He’s an ambitious and manipulative musician, I think his character totally ruined the book for me.
I found the romance between Sam and Bailey too rushed and unappealing (it is sorta insta love) in the beginning. But luckily Jennifer Echols doesn’t take the convenient route – their relationship is rough and bouncy although they kiss so early. So the middle of their romance was quite good, I thought. Until Bailey finds out that Sam was using her (because her sister has a contract) but Bailey doesn’t seem to be… mad. I mean, yes, she WAS mad at some point, but she quickly “forgives” him. And goes back to him. Dude, he was toying with you!!
One thing that I found to be unrealistic was the parents. I mean, come on, what kind of parents do THAT to their children? You can’t just ditch one of your child and focus on another just because he/she is much more successful.
The concept of this book is definitely intriguing. I have never read a book about country songs before and I think there aren’t many YA books that mention country songs so I guess it’s a plus. However, the concept was overshadowed by the infuriating character (Sam) and bad romance. While I enjoyed this book at some point, Dirty Little Secret falls in the “meh” category for me. There are so many things that could have been better, but no, this book disappointed me.
Thank you Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. This doesn’t affect my review at all.